• nature,  photographs

    some lights lengthen, as some go dark

    It’s the equinox, traditionally the day when Spring really kicks off (although some parts of the world are still iced under). Today we’ve had a proper Spring mixed bag – a tantrum of angry hailstones tossed about on moody winds, followed by sunshiny winsomeness. The gorse is in full bloom now and its coconutty fragrance is being wafted in the woods by the Spring gusts. I snapped this photo the other evening, when the light was a sleepy orange. For me it captures the joys of the lengthening days. Yet, life is fickle, and this morning I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of the author Lucius Shepard.…

  • nature,  photographs

    daffodil season

    I’ve never had much time for Saint Patrick’s day since I became an adult. When I was younger I used to march in my town’s parade, as I was part of the marching band in primary school. Later on I participated as a Girl Guide. My memories of the parades are usually about the weather: numb fingers stiffly trying to play along to the beat, getting drenched by rain whipping in at just the moment we were due to head off, and figuring out inventive ways to wear layers of clothing under the uniforms so to stave off hypothermia. I’m less fond of being in a crowd watching a parade,…

  • nature,  Thoughts

    I heart spring

    This splendid image could be an easy snapshot to miss as I breezed by the hedgerow, but the flash of colour at the periphery of my vision flagged my attention. I have a sub-programme always running in my mind when I’m out and about called interesting things to photograph. It’s a handy technique – noticing odd things, or seeing ordinary items cast differently in spectacular light. On some days it’s that necessary reminder that if you search for it you will always find beauty.

  • nature,  photographs

    parliaments

    Anyone who has ever watched birds flocking will understand where Daphne du Maurier got the idea for ‘The Birds’ (or why Arthur Machen was inspired to write ‘The Terror’). There is something both hypnotic and intimidating about their aerial manoeuvres and tight-knit fellowships. They form tribes. And so often, people don’t. Quite regularly a parliament of rooks assembles in the trees behind my house at dusk. Often, hundreds of them show up. In the winter their evening get togethers are very noticeable on the stripped branches. They flap in like a raucous gang, settle on their perches, gossip about their day’s antics, and seem to eye us up as potential…

  • nature,  photographs

    signs of spring

    I look this photo of snowdrops two weeks ago – a welcome sign of the changeover of the seasons. Now, the daffodils are ready to bloom, and the day has lengthened enough to be helpful. Soon, February will release us from its heavy grip, and Spring can bound forward unfettered. Winter has its beauties, but I am not sorry at its passing.

  • Galway,  nature

    Coole under water

    I’ve made mention a few times of the flooding in the West of Ireland this winter, but it’s pretty hard to describe how bad it’s been (although, not quite on the same scale as Somerset in England). I visit Coole Park in Co. Galway quite regularly, and over the past two months more and more of it has disappeared under water. At this point I would guess it’s at least two-thirds flooded. When I last visited it was after the dreadful passage of Storm Darwin, and the place was a mess. One of the car parks was flooded and inaccessible. Huge trees were toppled over, exposing massive rootballs. The buzz of…

  • nature

    alien earth

    There are lots of lifeforms on the planet which have that touch of the weird and alien about them. The ocean and the insect world are teeming with them. But among the plant world there are plenty of odd specimen, and as regular readers of my blog know I love to photograph fungi. We’re past the mushroom season, alas so I’ll have to wait until August/September before I can capture their odd glory again, but in the meantime there are always lichens! Here’s a lovely duo I photographed recently. Due to all the storms we’ve experienced lately there are tons of branches and trees knocked down in the woods I…

  • nature,  photographs

    magnificent skies

    Winter and early Spring can feel like a grim sentence in Ireland, especially as we ride out an exceptionally wet couple of months. Yet, on occasion the slow change of the season makes itself felt with a longer, dry day and beautiful skies. The one thing about being on the edge of the Atlantic is we get amazing cloudscapes at times and wonderful sunsets. And even when storms threaten, the view can be both awe-inspiring and scary. Nature can be a terrible beast, but sometimes she kisses you gently after your mauling.